Gold halts 3-day decline; oil below $98/barrel

New York (Aug 1)  Gold futures ended a three-day slump as the U.S. dollar lost ground after data showed the economy added fewer jobs than expected in July, increasing pressure on the Federal Reserve to maintain lower interest rates.

August gold futures rose 1 percent to finish at $1,293.60 an ounce.

But the precious metal posted a weekly loss of 0.7 percent, falling for a third week.

In other metals, September silver fell 0.2 percent to $20.37.

Payrolls climbed by 209,000 in July, Labor Department figures showed today. Economists had called for a 230,000 increase. The jobless rate climbed to 6.2 percent from 6.1 percent in June.

Fed policy makers this week said they will keep their benchmark rate low until wages accelerate and more workers find jobs.

This year, gold has climbed 7.7 percent, partly on concern that the U.S. recovery would falter.

In energy markets, West Texas Intermediate crude dropped on concern that demand will fall as refineries slow operations.

WTI for September delivery fell 63 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $97.54 a barrel at 3:30 p.m. in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange after sliding to $97.09, the lowest intraday level since Feb. 5.

Prices dropped for a fifth day. U.S. refineries cut their utilization rate last week for the first time in more than a month, government data show. Operations may decrease further after CVR Refining LP (CVRR)’s Coffeyville refinery in Kansas was shut down after a fire this week and plants begin to shut units for seasonal maintenance. WTI also fell as gasoline slumped.

Prices were down 4.5 percent this week.

Source: ProactiveInvestors